Sunday, 31 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 31st October 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council

1. Wind turbines

The University of Nottingham have unveiled plans to install three giant (120 metre high) wind turbines near Beeston Rylands. These will clearly have an impact on the visual amenity of the area and possibly on noise as well. There has never been an application like this is the borough before so the council will examine it very closely. Only one of the turbines is actually in Broxtowe, the other two are in the city. When I asked the University about this they said that they would go ahead with the project even if they only got planning permission for two units, so the decision that the city council take will have the biggest impact here.

2. Eric Pickles

I went to London on Tuesday to meet Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for local Government. I made the case for a fair financial settlement for Broxtowe, and pointed out that under the previous Government we had been paid over £1 million less in grants than their own figures said that we were entitled to. Mr Pickles seemed to listen, but we won’t know what impact it has had until we see the full extent of the figures for local councils, which won’t be published for some weeks. I’d like to thank Anna Soubry MP for her assistance in setting up this meeting.

3. Tree Felling

Next weekend the large beech tree on the corner of Ewe Lamb Close in Bramcote is to be felled by the council. Although the tree looks healthy it has been attacked by a fungus and this has eaten the roots away. Sadly it is now in a very dangerous condition and needs to be removed.

4. Durban House

As you will be aware I wrote to various authors who had sent a letter to the Observer calling for Durban House to be saved. I invited each of the authors of the letter to contribute to a trust to maintain the building. You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that not one of them has replied to me letter so far.

5. Tesco

The Tesco store in Beeston opens at 8am on Monday. I went on a tour of the building on Friday and I think architecturally it works well. There were three challenges we set ourselves with this store, did it work as a piece of architecture, did the road system work and did it contribute to the town overall. We now know the answer to the first question and will see the answers to the others in the next few weeks. The store employs about 360 people, about half of whom live in Beeston.

6. East Midlands Trains

East Midlands Trains, who operate Beeston Station, have been named as the most reliable long distance rail operator for the second year in a row. More than 94% of their trains apparently arrive on time.

7. Trick and Treat

Notts police have posters available, which you can download from their website at, asking people not to call if they are trick-or-treating.

8. Car Park petition

Kimberley residents have launched a new petition calling for car park charges in the town to be scrapped. I expect that this will be presented to the council in December. I have already assured all town and parish councils that we will review car park charges next year, when they have been in place for twelve months.

9. Stapleford Walk In Centre

Thank you to everyone who has signed our petition on this so far. We are still distributing sheets to people but we have already obtained several hundred signatures and have over 600 people showing this as a “Like” on our Facebook page. We will be pressing forward with this campaign over the next few weeks, and the official consultation launches on Monday. We do need as many people as possible to respond to this so that all your voices get heard.

10. Fair Votes Campaign

Also launching on Monday is the Fair Votes campaign, calling for a Yes vote in next May’s referendum. This is a cross party campaign calling for a change to the voting system to make things fairer. I was disappointed to read that Anna Soubry will be opposing this. Her argument seems to be that the AV system, being proposed, is not the fairest system available. I agree with this but it is considerably better than the first past the post system that we currently have, and so I will be voting yes.

11. Photography session at Attenborough Nature Reserve

There will be a photography session at Attenborough nature reserve next Saturday starting at 8.30am. The aim is to enable photographers to capture the wildlife at its best. The session lasts about two and a half hours and costs £32. More details are available on 0115 972 1777.

12. St Johns College

Two notices on behalf of St Johns College, the theological college in Bramcote. First they have a vacancy for a part time admissions assistant. Application packs are available from Kate Ellis on 0115 925 1114. Second they are on the lookout for three and four bedroomed houses to rent in the vicinity of the college. If you have a property to let from September then please contact Paul Stuttle on 0115 968 3206.

As ever thanks for your support for this newsletter and any feedback is gratefully received.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 23rd October 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. DH Lawrence

The intellectuals amongst you may have seen a letter in the Observer last Sunday criticising Broxtowe for closing the DH Lawrence Centre in Eastwood. I’m pleased to say that the very premise of their letter is wrong. Broxtowe have never proposed closing the DH Lawrence Centre, but we are reviewing whether one part, Durban House, can remain open. I’ve written back to the Observer saying that this decision will be taken by Broxtowe people for the benefit of Broxtowe people. I have however also written to each of the signatories to the letter inviting them to donate to a trust fund to cover the running costs of the building. I’ll let you all know if they reply.

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

We have now launched the petition to save the walk in centre. If you have emailed me asking for a copy to get friends and neighbours to fill in they will be with you tomorrow or Monday. We have also set up a website where you can sign the petition online ( ) and Facebook page ( to support the campaign.

3. The Tram

I’m delighted that the coalition government have given the go-ahead to the tram. I think it is important for the continued prosperity of the city, and especially for Beeston and Chilwell. I know that not everyone will agree but I’m sure that what everyone does agree with is the relief that at last a decision has been made. The uncertainty which has hung around for years has caused considerable problems for local people.

4. Old Stapleford Health Centre

Weatherspoons have submitted a planning application to demolish and rebuild the old health centre in Derby Road, Stapleford, as a pub. They have had previous attempts to convert the old building turned down so they are now looking at a complete rebuild. You can see the plans at and then select the planning tab.

5. Footpath in Attenborough

The Environment Agency have applied for permission to raise the height of the footpath from St Mary’s Close to Adenburgh Drive, with the intention of bringing it up to the height of the flood defences.

6. Football Coaching Course

The council is offering people the opportunity to train for the FA level one coaching certificate in Eastwood over half term. This starts on Monday so if you want to participate you will need to sign up on Sunday. Ring 01773 770100 for more details.

7. Coal Mining in Trowell and Cossall

I had a look at the display by UK Coal on Sunday in Trowell. They are wanting to carry out open cast mining between Trowell and Cossall for five years, with up to 50 large lorries a day bringing coal from Trowell to the five way junction at the top of Coventry Lane and then either north or south to the motorway. They will then restore the land to it’s former state. Not to put too fine a point on it, I hate this scheme and have told them so. It will destroy the green belt and even if they replant the land there is no way that the wildlife will be unaffected. More importantly, they are asking local residents to put up with five years of massive disruption without any significant benefits. I will fight this every inch of the way.

8. Visit by Nick Clegg and David Cameron

The prime minister and deputy prime minister jointly visited Nottingham on Thursday and as part of the agenda they visited George Spencer School in Stapleford, where they did a question and answer session about the spending review. I’m told that generally the response was positive from people, although challenging, but as I wasn’t present I can’t give more detailed feedback. What has been far less well received is the programme by the County Council to make massive cuts to their budgets, which I commented about last week.

9. Crime Figures

The latest crime figures for Broxtowe show a fall of out 12% overall, but I was very encouraged to hear the new Chief Superintendent for our area say this week that this isn’t enough and he is looking for reductions in the order of 25%.

10. Switching off street lights

The timetable for this programme by the County Council has now been published and the first areas of Broxtowe to be affected will not be until March 2013, with the whole borough brought into the scheme by August of that year.

11. Eric Pickles

On Tuesday I will be going to London to meet Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for local government. I’ll be making the case for district councils to get a fair allocation of money from the government. It looks like we will need to make cuts of about 7% per year, assuming that the cuts are applied equally across the board, but my concern is that the county councils may get a larger share of the money, leaving us to face the worst of the cuts.

12. Bramwell Care Home

A petition against the sale by the County Council of Bramwell Care Home was presented formally to the County Council at the meeting on 21st October by Broxtowe Councillor Stan Heptinstall. Locally all three political parties are opposed to the sale, but the County Council are so far proceeding resolutely along their chosen path.

13. The Media

I’ve had a busy run with the media over the past few days, with three TV appearances and a radio interview last week and a further interview on Radio Nottingham last Monday. However I thought I was going to top all of that on Thursday, which was meant to be my day off. I received a phone call at lunch time from the council to say that Nick Robinson had turned up in reception asking if he could do an interview with me, so I grabbed a suit and got myself to the council as quickly as possible. I recorded a long interview with him and then settled down to watch the six pm news on BBC1, only to find that I’d been completely edited out! Oh well.

14. Sid Little in Beeston

There are still some tickets available to see Sid Little, the comedian, at Chilwell Arts Theatre on Tuesday 2nd November at 7.30pm. This has been organised by Rylands Methodist Church. Tickets are available on 0115 925 8801. Also at Chilwell Arts Theatre they will be showing Robin Hood, with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchette on Friday 12th November at 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the door.

15. Speed sign for Coventry Lane

Nearly two years after originally promising it the County Council look like they are about to actually install an illuminated speed sign on Coventry Lane. Thank you to all the local residents who have lobbied for this for so long.

16. Tesco

Tesco in Beeston will open officially on 1st November, a week on Monday. Players from Nottingham Panthers are doing the honours. I was at a dinner on Monday night where I was seated next to the manager of the new store, and she does sound keen to be involved in local events and activities.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, which now has a record number of readers. Any feedback is gratefully received.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 16 October 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council.

1. Water Leak

There is really only one place to start this week, which is the burst water main yesterday. At about 1.50am the main water pipe burst, flooding a number of properties and leaving 17,000 homes without water. The emergency services, council staff and Severn Trent people all worked extremely hard through the night to evacuate the flooded properties and to stop the flow of water. We then activated our emergency plan to get water to as many people as possible and to sort out the damage. We got water to many elderly and disabled people very quickly, but I’m aware that the coverage was not as extensive as it should have been. I visited the damaged homes and met residents, as well as doing several interviews for the media, and walking back to my car from one I met a disabled lady who hadn’t received any water by 2.00pm, which should not have happened. I went and got her a set of bottles.

We will be reviewing how well we coped with this in the next few days. My impression is that most parts of the plan worked well, although Severn Trent seemed to be over-optimistic in how well they thought they were coping. I would be very interested to hear your experiences so that I can feed them into the review.

Finally on this losing our water supply reminds us how essential water is for the basics of life and how much we take it for granted. There are many people in the world who don’t have that luxury, and I have for many years raised funds for a charity called water aid, which is aimed at bringing water supplies to parts of the world currently without them. If the events of yesterday have inspired you to help their web site is and you can donate on line.

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

There has been massive support for our campaign to oppose the closure of Stapleford Walk In Centre, and thank you all for this. Many apologies for those of you who said that you would help collect signatures for the petition, we are just making sure that we get the wording right on the forms. Blank petition pages should be with you in the next few days.

3. County Council cuts

The County Council have announced that they are making massive cuts to their budgets. These anticipate the Comprehensive Spending Review, but they are making the cuts without actually knowing what money they are going to have. This seems to be a case of political dogma rather than financial necessity. Three areas particularly caught my eye which will affect us here in Broxtowe. First the county will keep all the recycling credits which they used to pay to the district councils for the material will collect for recycling. This amounts to £52,000 per year for Broxtowe, which put another way is the equivalent of 1% of the council tax you pay to the borough. Second they have reduced the amount that they give to the Citizens Advice Bureau by 67%. As the County Council are the major funders for the CAB this will inevitably mean they will have to cut their services. Finally they are slashing huge amounts from the Supporting People budget, which pays for wardens for sheltered accommodation and care services for the elderly. I will move heaven and earth to protect these services here in Broxtowe but inevitably this means that we will need to cut something else. I don’t yet know how much we can salvage but I will do my best.

4. Toton Trees

Unfortunately the owner of the land at Toton Sidings has appealed against the restocking notice served on him by the Forestry Commission. This was submitted on virtually the last day possible to do so, and the applicants have engaged the countries top barrister on the subject to act for them. The advice from the Forestry Commission is that we should wait to see the grounds of appeal before responding, so I will forward them when I receive them. I hope that many people will respond.

5. Speed Sign on Coventry Lane

After about two years of delay the County Council announced yesterday that they will now be installing an illuminated speed sign on Coventry Lane. Hopefully this will now be done quickly so that the process of educating drivers that the north end of the road is subject to a 30mph speed limit can begin.

6. Mining in Cossall

Just a quick reminder that there will be a display about the open cast mining in Cossall taking place at Awsworth Village Hall on Thursday from 4pmm to 8pm, and also at Trowell Parish Hall tomorrow, Sunday, from 10am to 2pm.

7. Street Gritting

The County Council have confirmed that they now have sufficient stocks of salt to grit the roads throughout an average winter. You may recall that last winter was particularly severe and stocks ran out and all year efforts have been made to replenish them. These seem to have borne fruit.

8. Tram Land

Nottingham City Council have confirmed that they are to go ahead with plans to compulsorily purchase land from the County Council in Chilwell which they need to allow the tram to proceed. Broxtowe Borough Council have a technical objection in place to this but the cabinet will review this at a meeting in a couple of weeks and hopefully will be able to facilitate progress.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 9th October 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome to the several new readers that we have this week. I took the opportunity to do a bit of a promotion for the egroup this week and as a result we now have the highest level of subscribers that we have ever had. Thank you all for your support and your feedback.

There has been so much happening this week that it is difficult to know where to start. I’ll deal with the main issues in the order that they occurred.

1. Boots Redundancies.

It was disappointing to hear on Monday that Boots were to shed 750 jobs. I was invited to meet Anna Soubry MP on this on Thursday morning. The day before Anna had met the Chief Executive of Boots and she was able to relay that the news was not as bad as it first appeared. Obviously if you are one of the people affected it remains extremely bad news, and I don’t seek to minimise this for a moment, but overall it might have been far worse. Some of the jobs were data inputters as they had a new computer system that no longer needed the people doing this. About 200 were senior management positions, and the people doing these will have the skills to acquire new positions. The vast majority of the jobs however are middle management, and Boots hope that the vast majority, if not all, of these people will be redeployed throughout the firm.

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

On Tuesday I met with the Primary Care Trust, who provided a briefing about their plans for the Walk In centre in Stapleford. In short they want to shut the walk in centre and move the facility to the QMC. (They do not propose closing the building so the doctors surgeries and the dentists would remain, but the most useful facility would go.) They gave various reasons for this. The primary motive for this is a cost saving exercise. Apparently too many people use the wrong facility and so they cost the PCT double or treble cost, as they would have to pay for the visit to each establishment. People also go to A&E when they don’t need to, which is the most expensive option. By having the walk in centre at the QMC they can direct people to the right facility and cut the cost. I’ve told them that I have no objection to them having a walk in centre at the QMC but that should not be at the expense of Stapleford.

The second reason put forward was an equality of service argument. Because the facility is only in Stapleford it is unfair that local residents there get a really good deal and people elsewhere don’t. To quote them exactly “Stapleford has had it too good.” Frankly this almost beggars belief. If you want to ensure an equality of service then you raise standards for those who don’t have them, you don’t drop them for those who currently have the better services. It is also daft to say that only people from Stapleford benefit from the centre, people use it from across south Broxtowe and beyond. 22,000 people a year use the walk in centre and 85% of them are treated to conclusion on the first visit, which seems to be a pretty good level.

I asked the PCT representatives if, should they go ahead with their plans, they could guarantee parking spaces at the QMC and also could they guarantee appointments with GP’s within 24 hours, but needless to say they couldn’t.

The public consultation will begin on 1st November and I would urge everyone to contribute to this. I’ll post the web site address as soon as I have it. I will oppose the plans in every way possible as I think they are wholly ill-conceived. The Liberal Democrats have already launched a petition against the plans, as have the Beeston Civic Society. If you would like to collect signatures for this amongst your neighbours let me know and I’ll let you have some petition forms.

3. Open Cast Mining

On Wednesday UK Coal announced that they want to start open cast mining around Cossall. They will be applying for permission before the end of this year and will hold a couple of public exhibitions to explain what they want to do. They anticipate that the mine might have a working life of 3 to 5 years and they would then return the land to green land. Applications of this nature are dealt with by the County Council rather than the borough, but we in Broxtowe are utterly opposed to this and we will fight these plans all the way. The public exhibitions will be at Trowell Parish Hall on October 17th from 10am to 2pm and Awsworth village hall from 4pm to 8pm. I will attempt to attend these to hear what people have to say. There have been two previous attempts to mine the site and Broxtowe have successfully resisted them both. Let’s make it three in a row.

4. Beeston Town Centre

On Thursday I met with two directors from Henry Boot to see if we could get them back on board with the redevelopment of Beeston Town Centre. I was fairly confident that we could reach agreement provided that they were willing to be reasonable. Sadly reasonable was not a word that I could use to describe the people I met with. Obnoxious, ignorant, stubborn, those are words that I could use, but reasonable was not one. As a result I’m afraid that the Henry Boot option is dead in the water. However this is not the end. As soon as we realised that there were problems with Henry Boot we began making contact with other developers and we will now proceed with these. Sadly this will cause some delay but we will do everything we can to minimise it. However a delay to get the right result is better than rushing ahead with the wrong scheme, which would be a disaster for Beeston.

After the events of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is anyone surprised I decided to take the day off on Friday.

5. Greening Broxtowe

The greening scheme is an attempt to improve the quality of life for local residents in environmentally friendly ways, reducing the carbon emissions of our communities and engaging in simple, sensible and practical sustainable options. Greening Stapleford launched today and Greening Beeston Rylands launches on Saturday 16th October at Trent Vale Infant School at 2pm. There will be family friendly activities and even a specially commission poem being performed. I hope that as many people as possible will join in these campaigns which are leading the way in bringing about a more sustainable Broxtowe.

6. Improving the A52

The Highways Agency have announced a number of alterations to the A52 in and around Broxtowe, which will be implemented next year. These will include traffic lights at the Priory and QMC Islands, adding a bus lane to the QMC Island but also removing part of the bus lane on Derby Road (60 metres worth) and installing a pedestrian Crossing at the Thoresby Road junction.

7. Kimberley Brewery

Green King have announced that they will put the Brewery Site up for auction on 8th December. If this goes ahead it is likely that the site will be sold in several lots, which might make it far more difficult to achieve a holistic scheme for the site. This would be a great shame.

8. Beeston Improvement District

Traders in Beeston voted in favour of creating a Business Improvement District (“BID”). The aim of this will be to generate further trade to Beeston Town Centre. A management team will now be created to take this scheme forward. It covers over 400 businesses based in Beeston, and each of them will contribute towards the costs of the scheme. A headquarters for the scheme will be up and running by next month.

9. Rainbow Gallery, Durban House

The Rainbow Gallery in Durban House, Eastwood, are inviting people to write on their walls between 19th and 31st October, creating a piece of community art work. There is a £1 charge to take part, and details can be obtained on 01773 717353.

10. School Governor

As I mentioned last week I was one of eleven parents nominated to be a governor at my daughters school. When I read the details of who was nominated it was clear that we had eleven extremely competent candidates. I was therefore very honoured (and very surprised) to be elected to one of the positions, so may I thank everyone who voted for me for your support.

11. Beeston Civic Society

Yesterday I addressed the monthly meeting of the Beeston and District Civic Society, talking about the planning system and developments in Beeston, past and future. It seemed to go very well and if any other community group would like me to come and speak about any aspect of the councils work I would be very happy to do so. Just drop me a line or give me a ring.

12. Neighbourhood Alerts

You can now receive crime alerts specific for your area by email from Notts Police. To receive these please sign up at

13. Charity Bike Ride

Conservative Councillor Mick Brown has recently completed a charity 450 mile bike ride across Scotland from Inverness to Skye. He raised £400 for the mayor of Eastwood’s charities, the Samantha Dixon Brain Tumour Trust and the Cleft Lip and Palette Association. Mick owns a cycle shop in Eastwood and carries out the repair work on my daughters bikes if I can’t do it myself. Congratulations to him for his efforts.

14. UK Youth Parliament

Youngsters in the borough are currently voting for who will represent them at the UK Youth parliament. The two candidates are George Fletcher aged 16 and Gillian Chivinde, also 16. Voting opened on 4th October and finishes on 15th October.

Thank you for your support for this newsletter and as ever any feedback is gratefully received.

Best wishes


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 3rd October 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council.

1. Beeston Town Centre

This is the big news this week. I’m afraid that after more than a year of negotiations with the leaseholders, plans to redevelop Beeston Town square have collapsed. I put the blame for this completely at the door of the leaseholders. We have between us managed to agree all the terms bar one, which was that they refused to give us a commitment to start work within a reasonable time. We were asking for them to agree to start within four years, which is the industry standard, but rather than do this they have broken of negotiations. From the council’s point of view this was something we had to insist on, as otherwise there would be no commitment from the developer to actually ever start work.

As a council we now have two options, we either get them back round the negotiating table or we find another developer. I will put my efforts into exploring both avenues. It would be far better and cheaper if we could run with the existing leaseholder and bringing in a new developer would put matters back a considerable time, but I’m not prepared to sell Beeston short just to get a quick deal. Whatever we agree must be right for the town and the borough.

2. Tesco in Eastwood

Rumours are circulating that Tesco are wanting to open a Tesco Express in Hilltop, Eastwood. Tesco haven’t confirmed this but they haven’t done anything to quell the story. A number of people have contacted the council asking us to block it, but I’m afraid that we simply don’t have the power to do that. If they need planning permission, which is not certain, then the identity of the applicant is something that the Development Control Committee are prohibited by law from considering. We can’t for instance say that we don’t want Tesco but we would have John Lewis as that would be unlawful.

3. Shoppers in Beeston

The Borough Council records the number of people visiting Beeston each week, (the “footfall figure”) and I’m pleased to say that it shows there has been s sustained increase over 2009. Every week bar one through the summer saw more people visiting Beeston than the year before. This provides a very good answer to those critics who said that introducing parking charges would kill the town. It hasn’t, and because the car parks have more spaces now, it has led to an increase in shoppers. (I read a headline in an opposition leaflet in Bramcote this week declaring car park charges a failure but this seems to totally ignore the facts. How sad that some politicians still behave like this.) I know that there are some problems with displacement of parking onto local streets bbut we will try and address these.

4. Durban House

One issue that the council is looking at to save money, which I have commented on previously, is whether or not we can afford to keep open Durban House in Eastwood. Before we make any decisions however the council have formed a working group to look at all the options and possibilities that there are. I’ve already read how both the Labour and Conservative parties are going to fight to keep it open so I was very surprised on Thursday when no Labour councillors attended the working group, and neither did any Conservatives. It was only Liberal Democrats who attended! You may consider whether or not their claims to be supporting Durban House are borne out by their actions.

5. Campaign to fight hate crime

My council colleague Ken Rigby has launched the boroughs councils initiative on to fight hate crime, together with Notts Police and the Council for Equalities and Human Rights. Hate crimes are utterly repugnant and I’m glad that the council is being pro-active in trying to stamp them out.

6. Kimberley Brewery

SOBS, the residents organisation trying to resolve the problems of Kimberley Brewery and bring in some investment to redevelop the site have reformed. Their next meeting will be at Kimberley Parish Hall on 19th October, and anyone interested would be welcome to attend. I think the group has started up again as a response to the false claims made by a local councillor during the Kimberley By Election, where a claim was made that a huge and exciting redevelopment was about to happen. Sadly this just wasn’t true.

7. Older Persons Borough Roadshow

Older residents will have the opportunity to attend a road show for the over 55's. Broxtowe’s older persons information roads how will be at Assemblies of God Church, Hilltop, Eastwood on 13 October, from 10.00am. Anyone aged over 55 is welcome to visit.

8. School Governor

My daughters school announced at the start of term that they had vacancies for four parent governors. I’m pleased to say that a couple of neighbours were kind enough to nominate me for one of the places, but I’m really excited to report that the school have had eleven nominations for the four spaces. It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people are willing to take an interest and volunteer to play a part in their children’s education. Thank you to everyone who has put their names forward. School governors aren’t paid, and it is people willing to volunteer who are the bedrock on which this country can go forward and thrive.

9. Council Meetings

At the council meeting on Wednesday we will debate a range of changes to council meetings to improve democracy and make them more effective. Amongst the options that I’ve put forward which I’m asking members to consider are giving a voice to the youth mayor and the youth council, to introducing public question times and to allowing any councillor to raise a matter of concern to their ward, rather than the agenda being set simply by the leader. I appreciate that this is giving a way a bit of the (very limited) power that I have but I firmly think that this is the right thing to do and that democracy will be enhanced by it.

10. Hoax 999 Calls

I’m pleased to report that there has been a drop of 22% in the number of hoax calls to Nottinghamshire’s fire brigade. Much of this is down to increased education of school children, which is clearly bearing fruit. Not only does each call cost money, but it also means that crews may not be available to deal with real emergencies, and so this is extremely good news.

11. Roy Tomlinson

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Roy Tomlinson, who was for many years the chair of Nottinghamshire Pensioners Action Group. He was a regular correspondent arguing the case for older people, and he will be sadly missed. I’m sorry that, despite corresponding over a number of issues, I never got to meet him in person.

12. Carbon Management Scheme

I’m pleased to say that Broxtowe are one of three councils who have signed up to the East Midlands Carbon Management Programme, the others being Rushcliffe and Newark. The aim is to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprints in each authority. We will all work together to share best practice and good ideas.

13. Priory Celtic FC

Priory Celtic football club, who are based in Kimberley, have launched a new youth team for players with physical disabilities or behavioural problems. I’m delighted with this and I hope that other teams will come forward so that a new five a side league can be formed. For information please contact Kevin Bonington on 01773 714486.

Thank you as ever for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback you have will be gratefully received.